Top tips for improving written business communication

Written business communication

Top tips for improving written business communication

Humans are a complicated species. Our ability to process emotion and recall past experience to guide decisions is impressive. As we all know though, communication can get complicated. Determining the meaning of direct face-to-face communication has plenty of challenges. But without facial cues and other factors, written communication is even more complicated.

In business, written communication can be an absolute minefield of misunderstanding and confusion. It’s worth the time and effort to get this right within your organisation. Failure to do so can drain resources and threaten critical relationships with customers, suppliers and your own staff.

Avoiding email tennis

Unnecessary back and forth emailing is a serious drain for all parties involved. Frustration builds up and if you don’t nip these poor habits in the bud soon, you risk damaging important relationships.

This can happen in many ways. Your messages can be too blunt or unnecessarily long. They might fail to take into account what the last message actually said, leaving the reader feeling like their message was ignored. Other emails can come across as overly direct or even rude. Using someone’s name constantly in an email may seem direct, personal, and captivating, but when overdone it can come across as patronising and incredibly frustrating for the reader.

Finding balance within these considerations takes time, effort, and your undivided attention. Small slip-ups can cause big problems further down the line, especially when it comes to misunderstood details or requests.

Respect the reader by mirroring their format

Due to the impersonal nature of emails, it’s all too easy to forget there’s a person on the other side of your words. Lost in the hustle and bustle of the day, we often forget to take those vital moments to consider how the other person will react to our emails.

Taking these moments to consider your reader shows respect. One of the best ways to do this is to mirror their format. If someone is using your first name, structured paragraphs, and a formal tone, that’s exactly how you should reply. If the person you’re communicating with prefers a short and sweet approach, mirror it.

A good writer strives for balance and carefully considers their options. The same principle applies to mirroring email formatting. If someone is being blunt and unprofessional, there’s no need to copy this. Maintain professionalism at all times when judging how to reply.

The frustrations of poorly written communication can chip away at professional relationships and waste valuable human resources within your business. Taking the time to respect your reader and keep emails as efficient as possible is worth it. Over time, you’ll notice your daily operations run smoother and easier, giving your business space to thrive.

If you often find yourself caught up in miscommunications, or worry what your online content is saying about you, our consultancy services can help. We can oversee your writing, help to improve the content you put out there and work on the clarity of what you write. If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on 0161 413 8418.

Alia Coster